All casinos in the United Kingdom were ordered to close on 23 March 2020, due to the rise of the coronavirus pandemic by Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The British government had ordered all non-essential business including casinos and restaurants to close, in an attempt to contain the spread of the deadly COVID-19.
Lockdown restrictions are slowly being relaxed in England and the government last month announced hospitality and leisure facilities could reopen on 4 July. Finally, poker enthusiasts are delighted as live poker is back in England as The Poker Room formerly known as The Vic reopened for business yesterday on 18 August. Though major casino operators were ready to resume back in June, The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) finally confirmed the reopening of casinos in England.
BGC’s Chief Executive, Michael Dugher said, “Casinos make a significant contribution to the economy, including through taxation and employment, as part of the leisure, hospitality, entertainment and tourism sectors. They have also played a hugely important role, not just in the national effort to combat COVID-19 and keeping their doors shut since March, but also through their support for communities – for example with the provision of food from their kitchens and the use of their venues.”
UK casinos made an announcement on social media platforms, revealing reopening of live poker cash games. Grosvenor Casino posted a message on Facebook on 14 August, stating that they will be reopening on 15 August. The Poker Room also announces that they will begin hosting cash games. The Empire Poker Room, again in London, is also open for cash games only. The poker room at The Hippodrome has been busy since it reopened its door.
We’ll be BACK open in England from 15th August but will have to wait a little longer for poker.
Don’t worry, cash poker games will be available in our clubs very soon – be the first to find out when on the Poker Live app (link) pic.twitter.com/itFCq5nQGS
— The Poker Room (@ThePokerRoomUK) August 14, 2020
UPDAR – 7 handed games will be on offer from tomorrow at Midday. We look forward to welcoming you back. pic.twitter.com/J8hTqRP9l6
— PSLive@TheHippodrome (@PSLive_Hippo) August 14, 2020
Although some casinos in the UK have started offering live poker after five months break, plenty others have not. Nottingham’s Dusk Till Dawn poker rooms have remained closed, along with Aspers, which owns four other casinos. Several safety measures have been placed for the staff and the customers such as using hand sanitizers, plexiglass, a Track and Trace system, cards being changed hourly, social distancing, and Casino staff must clean gaming machines after each play session with ATMs being sanitized at least hourly.
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